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Big tent

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Session title: Should there be a minimum level of complex thinking capability for all politicians to ensure they can cope with more complex times?

Session description: The idea of a bipartisan political system has had its day. When it comes down to the really tough decisions, there is no left and right: almost every politician expresses a centrist perspective. What is right for the country and what is right for the people usually ends up in a pendulum moment of centrist clarity. With this in mind, would it be useful for all politicians to embark on a dialectical journey of argument construction before commencing as a Member of Parliament? If we could get them to see what they are not seeing, we could effectively guide them to thinking about issues more complexly and reduce the number of facile partisan arguments. Is it time for a more cognitively complex Parliament for the people?

Suggested speakers: Dr Darren Stevens (me) as facilitator and protagonist.

Darren Stevens
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Session title: Where now for our engagement with China

Session description: C-19 has polarised what was already a tricky topic: As China grows in stature, how should we engage with her? 'Weaponsing' discussions is not helping. America and others seek to deflect criticism over the handing of the virus crisis by escalating the Blame Game and employing bullying tactics to force others to cease engagement with China. The Hong Kong fiasco, the treatment of dissenting voices, deep-rooted prejudice associated with Communism, and fears that we will compromise our own values if we trade with China make this a deeply disturbing topic for many. So how do we balance economic benefit with societal values, short-term geopolitical wranglings with long term effective engagement? Is it China's turn to lead?

Suggested speakers: Happy to curate a cross section of speakers. Am familiar with conference Chairing and, to be honest, I would hope to Moderate this myself.

Simon Haworth
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